I was in a hospital room, alone. A few minutes earlier, a nurse had come into my room to prep me for an emergency appendectomy. I was uncerimoniously ordered to “spread my legs” as I was being “catheterized” (a term I did not understand, but found to be painfully humiliating, physically and emotionally). Minutes later, I felt a warm, stickiness between my legs. I touched my inner thighs, and my fingers revealed blood! I knew then with utter certainty that the nurse had killed me. I was fourteen. It was 1959. Obviously, I’ve never forgotten it.
—Helma Reynolds, Germany
Helma came to America as a refugee in 1951 at the age of six.